Upper Mississippi River Program

Restoring Floodplain Forests

Floodplain forests are unique habitats found along river and stream corridors that contain a diversity of plants that can survive repeated and extensive flooding.
Red-shouldered Hawk Photo: David Mitrou, Great Backyard Bird Count

Many species of birds, including the golden Prothonotary Warbler, the secretive Red-shouldered Hawk, and the sweet-melodied Cerulean Warbler make their nests in floodplain forests. Along the Upper Mississippi River, these forests are under threat. Locks and dams create artificially high water levels, and invasive species prevent the natural regeneration of trees. If action is not taken now, much of the existing forest could convert to reed canary grass, an aggressive invasive plant that provides no habitat for forest-dependent birds.

  • Audubon has a full-time “boots on the ground” Forest Ecologist who is working with partners to implement restoration projects. 
  • Audubon is completing restoration projects by controlling invasive species and planting trees. 
  • Audubon is advancing the science around floodplain forest restoration and its effects on birds by working with partners to evaluate restoration methods. 

With your help we can continue this important research, restore hundreds more acres each year, and maintain the technical expertise needed for this important work. Donate today or learn more about the important work we're doing to improve water quality and to restore and protect bird habitat below. 

Audubon Minnesota Floodplain Forest Projects: 

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How you can help, right now